SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Suffolk will not join the list of cities declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.
At least, not right now.
After nearly three hours of public comment from gun rights activists, Mayor Linda Johnson and a majority of council members stated it was just too soon to take action against what speakers called “an assault on their constitutional rights.”
Just as in Virginia Beach the night before, nothing to do with firearms appeared on the meeting agenda, but fear over what a new Democrat majority in the General Assembly could mean for gun laws brought out hundreds.
40 minutes before Suffolk City Council’s meeting began Wednesday night, the chambers were already filled to the max with 150 people. By the time the meeting began, about 450 additional people filled the lobby and dozens more had to stand outside.
The first speaker of the night delivered his own version of a resolution to council in hopes they would adopt it.
“I’ve read what they’re saying it means and it’s saying that we would not enforce any unconstitutional laws,” Johnson said. “Of course we would not enforce any unconstitutional laws, but they have to be declared unconstitutional and that’s not something we can do. And, as I said on the dais, we took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Virginia so that’s the position we’re in and we just need to wait and see.”
The majority of people were wearing orange stickers that said “Guns Save Lives,” and applauded loudly as speakers passionately spoke in front of council.
“Bad people do bad things. Me and my family are licensed, law-abiding gun owners,” said Mark Aston, a Suffolk resident who was one of more than 50 speakers in front of council. “This should be done the next meeting.”
The “sanctuary” movement has spread in Virginia since the Nov. 5 election, when Democrats gained majority control of both the State Senate and House of Delegates. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said his party’s leaders will push for gun control measures.
More than a dozen bills concerning firearms have already been pre-filed.
More than 25 municipalities have passed resolutions ensuring they will not use their public resources to enforce any unconstitutional gun laws.